YouTube threatens to block Russian rights group’s channel

The warning followed a complaint from Russian regulator Roskomnadzor, alleging content violations, while YouTube didn’t specify the law violated.

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A Russian rights group, OVD-Info, reported that YouTube has threatened to block one of its channels in Russia, called Kak Teper, which discusses Ukraine war and political issues and has 100,000 subscribers.

Reuters reports that YouTube’s warning followed a complaint from Russian regulator Roskomnadzor, claiming the content violated information technology laws. OVD-Info is negotiating with YouTube and Google, labelling the potential block as political censorship.

YouTube did not specify which law was violated and did not respond to inquiries about this case but confirmed the reinstatement of videos from other opposition channels. Blocking YouTube entirely in Russia could be unpopular due to its large user base of tens of millions of monthly users.

Why does it matter? 

OVD-Info’s Kak Teper might become the first entire human rights channel banned on YouTube, warns Natalia Krapiva from Access Now, noting the growing threat to civil society’s presence on the platform. While Russia has blocked most foreign social media, YouTube has managed to avoid a ban, but not without consequences, as it has been consistently fined for hosting content deemed illegal by Russian authorities.